Freitag, 13. Oktober 2023

The Harbor and the waters

Norfolk, VA is the hub of the Hampton Roads region, with over 1.8 mio. inhabitants. Incorporated in 1705, it is bordered to the west by the Elizabeth River and to the north by the Chesapeake Bay. Most importantly, it is the headquarters of the US Navy,  world's largest Naval Base, and an expansive seaport. We had a wonderful view over the harbor from our room in the Hilton The Main, far up, with a window wall. 

Nauticus, the National Maritime Museum,  our first stop, shows exhibitions, but main attraction is the "USS Wisconsin", the world's largest battleship, around 270 m long and laid out for a crew of up to almost 3,000 sailors. It belongs to the so-called "Iowa-class", ordered by the U.S. Nave between 1939-40 to operate in the Pacific Theater of World War II. Four such ships were completed, among them the USS Wisconsin in 1944. Think, we have also seen the other three ones in the past. Other than WWII, the Wisconsin was active during the Korean War, and decommissioned in September 1991.

It's a huge ship, visitors are allowed to explore/climb its many decks. The living conditions of the sailors must have been horribly cramped. Photos show sleeping quarters and mess.


Next: Fine Arts! The Chrysler Museum of Art is considered as one of the Top 20 museums in the USA. The museum was founded in 1933 as the Norfolk Museum of Arts and Sciences. In 1971, automotive heir Walter P. Chrysler Jr. (whose wife was born in Norfolk) donated most of his extensive collection to the museum. It is an amazing "all-around" museum with masterworks from every major civilization, historical period and culture of the past 5,000 years. 


American and European paintings and sculpture from the Middle Ages to the present day form the core of the collection, but, especially worth seeing and studying is the Glass Collection (there is even a Glass Studio adjacent!).

On the next morning we explored some of Norfolk's neighborhoods, first of all the  Historic West Freemason's District with its beautiful historic architecture from the 19th century, with cobblestone streets, brick sidewalks, and cast and wrought iron fencing and railings. 


The Neon District (right), with murals and signs, and the Waterside District are equally attractive. Granby Street is the "culinary hub" of downtown (photos below). There is even a Light Rail running!





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